TCM rushed to Italy to help treat COVID-19 patients

By Song Lin Source:Global Times Published: 2020/3/12 20:08:40

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Demand for traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in Italy and other infected countries is surging as a therapy that integrates both TCM and Western medicine is proved more effective to cure coronavirus patients, experts said.

"We have placed an urgent order for TCM, which has gone through customs declaration process," He Jun, dean of the Qihuang Chinese Medical College located in Italy, told the Global Times.

"Many Italian students in our institution have bought TCM, accounting for about one-quarter of the total demand," He said. Local Chinese are worried about the spreading pandemic and hope that TCM could help them fight the virus.

Zhejiang Chinese Medical University, together with Hangzhou Ganzhicao Technology Co and a youth organization from Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province, initiated a project to donate TCM overseas to help the infected.

Over a dozen companies from both home and abroad have joined the initiative and collected 50,000 units of granule formulation, 10,000 testing kits and other items, read a statement sent to the Global Times by Ganzhicao Tech. 

"Nearly 90 percent of the infected patients in our affiliated hospital have been cured by a therapy integrating both TCM and Western medicine, and only 5.3 percent of the patients turned into serious cases, which is much better than those treated by Western medicine only," said Wen Chengping, deputy president of Zhejiang Chinese Medical University, who has participated in the frontline treating patients in Hangzhou Xixi Hospital affiliated to the university.

Different from Western medicine that initiate treatment when patients get confirmed by a test, TCM therapies offer treatment based on symptoms not only for confirmed but also suspected cases, Wen explained.

Also, TCM could offer effective treatments for patients with mild symptoms, Wen said. 

The WHO has removed its former suggestion of "do not take traditional herbal remedies", and told the Global Times in an email interview that the guidance was "too broad" and failed to take into account the fact that "many people turn to traditional medicines to alleviate some of the milder symptoms of COVID-19."

Wang Mei, director of Leiden University-European Center for Chinese Medicine and Natural compounds, told the Global Times that TCM has gained rising influence in Europe in recent years with higher recognition.

Though it still takes time for TCM and related therapies to receive comprehensive adoption overseas, Wang said that TCM could play an important role in virus prevention in Europe. 


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